Daily Reflection for Wednesday, November 16 2022
Peace and blessing, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First reading: Revelation 4:1-11
Responsorial: Psalm 150: 1b, 2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel: Luke 19: 11-28
Our reflection on Wednesday’s readings:
“ . . . because He was near Jerusalem . . . Luke 19:11b
Wait! What did Jesus just say? Did he just extol the virtue of making money? Did he further cast a man who exterminates his opponents as an example of leadership?
This parable has always been out of character with my sense of the Jesus in the gospels. In the companion parable from Matthew 25, where the comparison of money and God-given talents makes for a more consistent encouragement on Jesus’ part. But here in Luke, there is something else going on.
Context! This is vital to our understanding of this parable. First of all, the story that precedes today's gospel is about Zacchaeus, the hated and greedy tax collector who upon encountering Jesus, repents and returns all ill-gotten gains and is declared redeemed by Jesus. Secondly, this passage precedes Jesus entering Jerusalem where he will be at first lifted up by the crowds, and then they will call for his crucifixion when he disappoints their expectations.
Is Jesus in today's parable using irony and satire? I strongly suspect so. Jesus is talking to an audience quite familiar with the oppression of the poor and the weak at the hands of the rich and powerful. It was to a new understanding of the kingdom of God that Jesus was presenting.
So what does that mean to us, to me and my life? I can certainly see myself in the role of the man aspiring to be king in this parable. This is because given all the material wealth on this earth, I am amongst those who have the most. Too often, I am oblivious to the fact that this wealth can come at the cost of the poor throughout the world. Looking at the life I enjoy, the resources I consume, and then at the efforts of the weak, poor and disadvantaged who actually contribute to the life I enjoy, I am brought up short and convicted by this parable.
However, I don't believe it is Jesus’ intention is for me to wallow in helpless guilt or self-deprecation. Instead he calls me to see my commonality with sisters and brothers throughout this world who suffer from oppression, poverty, war and illness. At the very least, I am called to lift up these other children of God in prayer. Further, I am called to use my resources, my voice, and my compassion to be a follower of “the man who stilled the water," Jesus whom I call Lord.
Prayer: Lord, the needs of the world can overwhelm us. Give us the compassion and the courage to see and care about all those whom you love. Amen